September 14, 2003
A Staple Diet
I don't know if there is such a thing as "metal lath nirvana" but hanging metal lath with a pneumatic stapler is at least 10 times easier and quicker than using a cordless drill and 100's of screws. What was I thinking?
The stapler is especially made for hanging lath and uses one-inch wide staples. It took a little time getting use to it, but before long I was stapling lath just like the pro's do. (Are there any professional plasterers left?)
Experimenting with metal lath has also led to another use for the lath. By bending the metal lath around the outside of the window frame it does a great job bonding the cordwood mortar directly to the window frame. This eliminates any need for nails and/or screws to be secured to the wood frame in order for the mortar to "grab" onto the smooth wood surface of the frame. This will be quite useful for all window and door frames as well as any plates that come in contact with the mortar. I will still use a few lag bolts here and there to deeply penetrate into the cordwood matrix, but this will greatly enhance the bond between the cordwood mortar and the wood framing material.
Too Little, Too Late
The drought which was considered moderate, was upgraded to a severe drought last week and about two days later it finally rained about 1.5". Unfortunately it was too little, too late for some of the farmers here in the area. Previous to this rain, it has rained less than an inch over a two month period here at Day Creek. There were a number of records broken in Southeast Minnesota and Governor Tim Pawlenty is seeking federal disaster aid to help Minnesotan farmers. It is estimated that there has been over one billion dollars in damage done to Minnesota's crops this year.
Our land hasn't been hit too hard by the drought as the top soil is deep in most places and the plants and animals seem to be fairing okay. Even Day Creek still has knee-deep water in it. The rain that came though was certainly welcome as it gave me an opportunity to refill the cistern. I figured the cistern was about half full before the rains came.
Thanks to Jo's friend Kathy and the Morton Arboretum, the mystery plant from last week has been identified as Monarda Punctata which is a form of Bee Balm. There's quite a bit of Monarda Fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) that grows here at Day Creek, but this is the only plant that I have found of the Punctata variety. Thanks again to those who helped identify the plant.
Remember the photograph of the snake from a few weeks ago? I still haven't gotten a positive ID on it, but between my niece Jenni and myself we think we have narrowed it down to either a fox or a bull snake.
That's about it for now. Next week will be cleanup week before next weekend's Applefest.
The clouds hang low over the bluffs of Mound Prairie after a welcomed rain.